Atlanta grapples with a severe problem of reckless driving, marked by a record setting number of car accidents in recent years. Reckless driving, defined as willfully endangering others, encompasses behaviors like speeding, distracted driving, and road rage, among other dangerous behaviors.
Are Atlanta roads more dangerous than ever before?
The short answer is yes. Recent statistics have earned Atlanta the unfortunate position as the number one most dangerous driving city in the United States, according to Forbes. This 2023 report states, “Atlanta is the city where motorists face the greatest chance of becoming involved in a collision.”
In an April 2023 Axios article, police departments across the Atlanta metropolitan area noted that the pandemic-induced emptiness of roads in 2020 set a trend of reckless driving that still persists today. When the roads were empty, drivers took the chance to speed up, and they haven’t stopped speeding since.
To illustrate this evolving issue in our city, Metrotrends.com states that Atlanta’s population has grown by 300,000, from 5.8 to 6.1 million, since 2020. In this same time frame, Axios reports a disproportionate and dramatic increase in reckless driving fatalities. While 2019 saw just under 225 Georgia drivers lose their lives to such behavior, in 2022 that number more than doubled to 483. In a staggering statistic, each of the past three years have set new record highs in reckless driving fatalities in our state.
What is causing the uptick in reckless driving in Atlanta?
The surge in reckless driving in Atlanta can be linked to three prominent and concerning trends:
- Speeding: The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that, “speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities.” A recent example of this occurred on July 28, 2023, when a speeding car crashed and caught fire on I-75, leading to the loss of five lives.
- Distracted driving: The widespread use of smartphones and in-car distractions has led to a substantial increase in distracted driving, diverting drivers’ attention away from the road. However, visual distractions are not the only cases for distracted driving. Your Atlanta car accident injury attorney can also explore the evidence from the crash scene to determine if there were physical or cognitive distractions at play. A tragic illustration of the consequences of this behavior took place on December 15, 2022, when a Delta worker was struck by a truck at the Atlanta airport by a truck driver who was distracted by their tablet.
- Road rage: Startling statistics, gathered from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by com, reveal that aggressive driving is responsible for two-thirds of traffic deaths. Disturbingly, over a third of such incidents involve firearms, often leading to fatal outcomes. Road rage manifests in dangerous behaviors, including collisions, brake-checking, and forced off-road incidents. Recent tragedies in Metro Atlanta emphasize the grave toll of road rage, with fatal shootings on August 24, 2023, and September 10, 2023.
The city’s roads have become a hotspot for aggression and accidents, and motorists face an elevated risk of becoming involved in such incidents. The urgency of addressing these issues cannot be overstated, but all that everyone can do is take precautions to keep their family safe.
Protecting yourself from reckless drivers in Atlanta
Ensuring your safety on the road is vital, especially in the most dangerous driving city in the country. While you cannot influence other road user’s behaviors, you can take steps to protect yourself:
- Be predictable: Clearly signal your intentions and avoid sudden lane changes, reducing the risk of surprising other drivers and promoting a smoother traffic flow.
- Maintain a safe distance: Leave ample space between your vehicle and the one ahead to allow reaction time in case of unexpected traffic shifts or emergencies.
- Adhere to traffic rules: Consistently obey speed limits and traffic signals, regardless of the behavior of other drivers. This helps maintain order and lowers accident risks.
- Stay in the right lane: With the above rule in mind, stick to the right lane whenever possible to minimize tailgating and conflicts with speeding drivers.
- Stay vigilant: Avoid distractions, like phone use, and focus on scanning for potential road hazards.
- Avoid aggressive drivers: Safely disengage from aggressive drivers and let them pass, preventing escalations.
These practices, together, are known as defensive driving. By prioritizing road safety through these strategies, you fulfill your duty of care as a road user, doing your best to keep yourself and other drivers safe.
Establishing liability in cases of injury caused by a reckless driver in Atlanta
Typically, the speeding, distracted or aggressive driver is the one primarily held liable due to their negligence. Negligence in a car accident context refers to a driver’s failure to exercise reasonable care while operating a vehicle. Key factors for assessing liability include:
- Duty of care: All drivers are obligated to follow not only speed limits but also road safety laws. This encompasses obeying traffic signals, using turn indicators, and yielding to pedestrians.
- Breach of duty: Failure to adhere to the laws and regulations governing the roads may constitute negligence and potential liability for accidents.
- Causation: Demonstrating that speeding or traffic law violations directly caused the accident and resulting injuries.
- Damages: As the injured party, you must establish damages, including financial costs (medical bills, lost wages) and non-financial costs (pain and suffering) incurred due to the accident.
Harris Lowry Manton LLP is here to offer our experience and guidance through these tough situations, ensuring your rights and potential compensation are protected after your Atlanta car crash. When holding reckless drivers accountable, we are dedicated to safeguarding your legal interests.
Our team is proud to support our community and we invite you to read our testimonials to see how our dedicated attorneys have helped bring peace of mind to your Atlanta neighbors.
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our experienced Atlanta car accident lawyers will put you and your family first. Call or contact our convenient Atlanta or Savannah offices to schedule a free initial consultation.
Steve Lowry is an award-winning litigator who has secured record-setting jury verdicts on behalf of his clients. A passionate advocate for individuals who have been harmed by the actions of others, Steve has won numerous top 10 verdicts in Georgia.
Read more about Stephen G. Lowry here.